In addition to regular exercise, techniques such as biofeedback training and relaxation therapy can help reduce stress.
- Biofeedback training. This technique teaches you to control certain body responses that help reduce pain. During a biofeedback session, you're connected to devices that monitor and give you feedback on body functions such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure. You then learn how to reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate and breathing yourself.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of talk therapy may help you learn to manage stress and may help reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.
- Other relaxation techniques. Anything that helps you relax, including deep breathing, yoga, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation, may help your headaches. You can learn relaxation techniques in classes or at home using books or tapes.
Using medications in conjunction with stress management techniques may be more effective than is either treatment alone in reducing your tension headaches.
Additionally, living a healthy lifestyle may help prevent headaches:
Jul. 16, 2013
- Get enough, but not too much sleep.
- Don't smoke.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat regular, balanced meals.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
- Taylor FR. Tension-type headache in adults: Acute treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Olesen J, et al. The international classification of headache disorders. http://ihs-classification.org/en/. http://ihs-classification.org/en/. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- Pluta RM. JAMA patient page: Tension-type headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;306:450.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- Aminoff MJ, et al. Clinical Neurology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=66. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- Linde K, et al. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- Fumal A, et al. Tension-type headache: Current research and clinical management. Lancet Neurology. 2008;7:70.
- Daily diary. American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education. http://www.achenet.org/resources/headache_diaries/. Accessed April 24, 2013.
- Verhagen AP, et al. Lack of benefit for prophylactic drugs of tension-type headache in adults: A systematic review. Family Practice. 2010;27:151.
- Headache hygiene tips. American Headache Society Committee for Headache Education. http://www.achenet.org/resources/trigger_avoidance_information/. Accessed April 17, 2013.
- Cathcart S, et al. Stress and tension-type headache mechanisms. Cephalalgia. 2010;30:1250.
- Taylor FR. Tension-type headache in adults: Preventive treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 26, 2013.
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